An interesting passage from "The Devil" (an 1889 Tolstoy short story):
It is generally supposed that Conservatives are usually old people, and that those in favor of change are the young. That is not quite correct. Usually Conservatives are young people; those who want to live but who do not think about how to live, and have not time to think, and therefore take as a model for themselves a way of life that they have seen.
Whether Tolstoy believed this or it was merely a convenient, philosophical preamble to his story--"The Devil"'s central character is reasonably well served by "Conservatism," though ruined by natural, libidinous passions--I cannot say. Nonetheless it's a theory that makes conservatives of us all, at least until we have "time to think."
I like the notion, anyway, in that it stands conservatism on its head. Mature conservatives, according to this imaginative Tolstoyan construction, are merely the unthoughtful young grown older. More than a few real, breathing conservatives, on the other hand, would have us believe they came to their conservatism honestly and consciously, even heroically--they're conservative for having scoured mountainous heaps of National Review and the Weekly Standard and suffered decades of intolerably oppressive liberal rule.
My own take is that in the United States the very word "conservative" has fractured into such philosophical meaninglessness that it now stands almost entirely as a synonym for "Republican," which itself reflects only an unshakable framework of--in equal or varying proportions--bitterness, resentment, superstition, ignorance, anti-intellectualism and racism.
As a coherent, political construct worthy of the designation "philosophy," conservatism has passed on--a victim, as they say, of its own 30-year success.